@PumpUpThaVolume: Episode006 - Pleasuretime
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Episode006 - Pleasuretime
Breton: Wood and Plastic
Originating from London and headed by Roman Rappak and Adam Ainger, Breton envisage themselves as a multimedia artist collective, music, film, remixes. Working out of their South London studio nicknamed "Breton Labs", this group has released 4 EPs and "Other People's Problems" will be their first full length cut, to be released on Fatcat Records. I feel as though Bloc Party have been a big influence on this band - yet "Wood and Plastic" has so much more going on, bells, strings, synth, guitar and its all tied neatly together with the nigh on hypnotic drums. Its unclear what Michael Hann from the Guardian thinks of this particular track, but he has a good point: Edward the Confessor is a high point for this band, and it is well worth having a look at the video.
Breton: Edward the Confessor
As if by chance, the thoughts of Mr. Hann have come to bear. Edward the confessor indeed exemplifies the work from "Breton Labs", a sublime mixture of electronica, pop and film. Among the themes of temporal disjunction and foreground background sonic inversion, the title of this track pays homage to Saint Edward, King from 1042 until 1066 and perhaps best known in History for the Crisis of 1052 (The HolyHexes of Canterbury), or in popular culture for his cameo (character that is) in Doctor Who. Beyond this there is a symbiotic nod to Kasabian's "Vlad the impaler." Are we witnessing the birth of a new genre: Phonic-Historyonics? As far as Breton goes, the bbc have said it best: "Now comes the luck part ñ the right break, the right sync, the right soundtrack. All the ingredients are here for this lot to explode if the public gives them a spin or two."
Diamond Rugs: Call Girl Blues
Somewhere in between Steve Earl and ZZ Top fall Diamond Rugs and "Call Girl blues". Steel guitar and well-timed use of brass make this song a mix of the nostalgic and the contemporary. What is fascinating about Diamond Rugs is that it is a collective side project, which has emerged as a "fully fledged" band - started by John McCauley of Deer Tick, it includes Ian Saint Pe (The Black Lips), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) who was recruited by McCauley backstage at a Los Lobos gig, Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate), Bryan Dufresne (Six Finger Satellite) and Robbie Crowell (also of Deer Tick). The LP was released in Spring of 2012, recorded in Nashville and produced by Adam Landry and Justin Collins (of Middle Brother and Deer Tick). Personally I think this band would work better if they all had beards!
Beat Connection: Think/Feel (Feat. Chelsey Scheffe)
New in 2012 to Beat Connection is Tom Eddy their latest full time vocalist and guitarist "the only man they'd consider for the job." A long way from the game of beer pong between Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger in 2008 that started the band. Listed as Disco House/ Psychedelic/ Tropical, on their myspace page - Beat Connection have that deep grove of a cafe del mar or lounge chill out, subdued jazz thing. Located in Seattle and signed to Tender Age, Think/Feel featuring Chelsey Scheffe comes from their 2012 Moshi/Moshi release. It is unclear whether Moshi/Moshi is a part of "The Palace Garden" release, which is their first full-length album - a meditation on the idea of unattainable beauty. What is clear is that they have a calendar full of tour dates starting on the 27 of May at Sasquatch music festival (look out for the Hendersons) and running through until 22 of July in Vancouver - check the myspace page for more details.
Lost in the Trees: Golden Eyelids
When does pop matter? When does music find us in our darkest moments, there to comfort us from our deepest fears? "Golden Eyelids" is from Lost in The Trees' sophomore album "A Church that fits our needs" an album that deals predominantly with the suicide of lead singer and founding member Ari Picker's mother. Coming from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and signed to ANTI-Records and featuring Emma Nadeau, Drew Anagnost, Jenavieve Varga and Mark Duamen, the "rich orchestration, [that is] piled generously atop a base of delicate fold" [as described by RollingStone] is similar to Mumford and Sons. PopMatters have suggested that like one of Picker's influence Radiohead, "[album] bursts with the same melodic interplay that makes later Radiohead extraordinary." Most definitely a track for your "blue day playlist", haunting, chilling, touching and deeply moving - don't be afraid to shed a tear.
Congratulations, you get two gold "Fun Session" Stickers, from Elena Tonra, whose EP "The Wild Youth" features "Home" as the opening track. Tonra is a notable alumni from the prestigious Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, where such artists as Andy Green (Producer for Coldplay and Muse), Ed O'Brien (Radiohead) and perhaps my favorite all time drummer (after beneficial) Jack Cowens (Marina and the Diamonds) have gone before her. Currently unsigned, Daughter is experimental electronica folk, managed by Matt Brown. The wistful timbre of her vocal work stands out across "The Wild Youth", and "Home" exemplifies not only her talents as a singer, but also her ability to connect emotionally as she takes us on a journey, one where we wish to return home.
Deep Sea Arcade: Girls
Nothing like the Beastie Boys namesake. The introduction has an air of Kasabian about it, specifically "Fire." The not so laid back timing of the steel strings offset by the driving percussion builds to a climatic chorus, begging to be used in a dramatic filmic scene - where the unfortunate reality being that we will hear this on CWB or in some underperforming Aussie Soap (Which is devastating for a band that has toured with Noel Gallagher)... Deep Sea Arcade are poised to become one of Australia's biggest bands since INXS, from Sydney Australia (North from where I sit), they were discovered by Melbourne radio station Triple J, where this track has been on high rotation - as it has been on BBC1. This five piece is signed to Speak N Spell/ Ivy League Records and "Girls" comes off their Debut album Outlands.
Willis Earl Beal: Evening's Kiss
Signed to Hot Charity (And I wonder if that is some sort of joke - at the very least its highly ironic) Beal was in the US Army, stationed at Fort Leonard Wood before medical complications meant he was discharged. Returning to Chicago where he worked at Sears Tower, before becoming homeless for a period, he worked low-level jobs such as night shift security. Beal was eventually discovered after leaving illustrated flyers around the Albuquerque area in the hope of finding a girlfriend - he was ultimately contacted by over 100 members of the surrounding public. Whilst this story is already truly hard to believe and deeply sad, Beal's artistry has been animated for the official clip of "Evening's Kiss" [http://youtu.be/fhrlEGJRPqM]. The low-tech genre has accentuated this remarkable talented man - no doubt there is much more to come - so watch this space!
Dub step meets reggae, again? Afrolicious, a San Francisco based collective have worked with Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation to produce their latest EP: Pleasure time. Fresh from recently celebrating their 5 year anniversary (the 27th of April), have a host of tour dates lined up. A great mix of bongo drums, brass, synth, guitar as well as stand out vocal work.
Xiu Xiu: Hi
Industrial metal, 80s Techno, early 90s video games? All of the above. The name of the band was taken from the 1998 Chinese film: Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl. Formed in 2002 by singer-songwriter Jamie Stewart, he has been the mainstay of a turbulent membership. Described as an Avant-garde group and coming out of San Jose, California - I think of this group as "the almost.." group, they are almost like Faker, they are almost like Pendulum. In reality Xiu Xiu have their own voice and stylistic motifs, and it is my own ignorance that is showing through. The song is borderline depressing, and the lyrics all inclusive for anyone who has ever experienced a negative emotion - yet musically it has a fast tempo and dynamic soundscape that off-sets the general theme. It is the first track off their latest album "Always", which features a tattoo for the cover art (worth a look). Released in 2012 on the Polyvinyl label in the US and Bella Union in the UK, it has been positively received critically with the average score out of ten being an 8.
Bright Eyes and First Aid Kit: We Are Going To Be Friends
Cool for School is a collection of "school themed" songs by different artists including Joseph Arthur, Albert Hammond Jr and Angela McCluskey to benefit the Lunchbox Fund… Bright Eyes and First Aid Kit team up for a playful version of The White Stripes song, "We Are Going To Be Friends."
"Sorry What?... I Can't hear you over this bass," yes its another dance track. But there is a lot more going on here than simply a standard club anthem. Trust, from Canada - specifically Toronto are a "Synthpop" band, who have created a soundscape of an open wilderness that is compounded by a mix of heavy drum and bass and numerous synth rolls, each adding something to the overall theme of breathlessness and confusion. The mix is somewhat intoxicating and I would definitely dance to it. Trust are Rober Alfons and Maya Postepski and like a lot of the acts featured this week are more than simply a musical group, they are a lifestyle! Whilst Alfons is from Winnipeg (the city not the band) Postespski also performs with Austra (the band and not the country - there is no country called Austra!) Their first album was released on the Arts and Crafts label (whom we have heard a lot from this week) and is called TRST. #Holyhexes?
I Self Devine: Exist to Remain
Smooth Hip Hop that captures the essence of a genre, this is the work of Chaka Mkali aka I Self Devine. The track is Exist to Remain and would make those who have enjoyed the incorporation of Immortal Technique in the early works of Jan Irvin and Richard Grove. James Corbett may even feature some of I Self Devine in his series on "Truth music", but I always think of the message Dalton Lindo aka Screwdriver passed on when talking about his infamous hit "White power" - "you can write a pamphlet that people may read three or four times, but write a song and they will sing it forever (or words to this effect)." Musically the composition is diverse and compliments the rapping well, to highlight all the salient "rhymes" (Fresh by design, once you accept no trade school, charismatic yet antisocial etc.) whilst bringing the chorus lines in seamlessly. A polished work with only a slight irony that a "baller" is spitting the truth of the streets! Half of a number of influential duos in the Twin Cities underground hip-hop scene, I Self Devine is signed to "RhymeSayers Entertainment LLC." and his latest album is "The Origin of Urban Culture." The film clip forms part of his Culture series, and like the song ends on a gospel note.
Patrick Watson: Quiet Crowd
A deft touch of a minimalist grand piano sets off this track, accentuated by a hollow vocal track before a whole host of instruments kick in to lift this song. There is a delicious irony between the theme of the song and the musical arrangement, Watson sings of loneliness and solitude - which the piano exemplifies, yet the flute, and what sounds to me like a double bass, a tambourine and an oboe or similar wood instrument all add a sense of whimsy and beauty that makes this track something to marvel at. The sudden ending of the track anchors the theme and leaves the listener, hopefully, moved. From Montreal, Watson officially blends cabaret with classical music. The latest album was recorded in his apartment, to feel more like home. He is signed to Secret City Records and also performs with Eponymous band.
Gold & Youth: Time to Kill
Yet another highly cinematic track on what has been a beautiful and diverse playlist. Gold and Youth are out of Vancouver British Columbia - Canada, and are signed to the Arts and Craft label. The single "Time to Kill" has been released as a free download and was used in conjunction with the SXSW promotional material. Reading the bands Tumblr, there is a quirkiness to their sense of humor which I quite enjoy - one line in particular stood out for me though, from member Michael Mann: "Fuck, I am so post-music these days anyways, I hope that comes across in my article. Wait, that should BE the article!" The chord progress is relatively simply, yet sometimes it is making music simply that is the hardest task of all. Time to Kill has a synergy about the composition though, the harmonies in the vocal, the synth and the drums, the solitude of the chord progression - all emphasizing a romantic notion of a time in which it is appropriate to kill. For me I am lead to think about those heady emotional moments, such as when you need that dumb courage to actually speak to a girl, or when your knees go weak at the sight of a stunning figure, divine bone structure or glacier-like blue eyes. The track ends smoothly and returns you to "real life" keeping your flight of fancy secret, but the moment shared none the less. To follow Gold & Youth on twitter it's @GoldandYouth
(with thanks to @theUdog)
- 2012-05-04 22:43:04
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